A question to businesses, what does your big-picture, media storytelling got to do with your messaging to targeted clients?
Everything of course, which is why it’s time you started focusing on both.
Yet, for many businesses, PR and ABM are treated like two very different activities when, in fact, they’re highly complementary. So, while it’s true that both involve different ways of thinking and executing when you ascend from your organisational niches, it’s all still essentially about telling your potential clients about what you do and why you’re the best fit for them.
Crucially, the two disciplines – public relations (PR) and account-based marketing (ABM) – go hand in hand in creating powerful updraughts when orchestrated together. Strategic media positioning created by effective PR supports and reinforces your targeted marketing activities. At the same time, ABM adds specific messaging and customer-focused communications that make target clients aware of your brand’s relevance and offering that’s specific to their needs and challenges.
Here are five best practices to help you ensure maximum success…
1. Make sure everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet
All your marketing should, of course, be deeply rooted in your overall business strategy. And so, it follows that the foundational strategic work that underpins your PR and ABM programmes will be identical. Your core value proposition, your key communications pillars, and your messaging matrix for your target audiences ought to be identical for both disciplines. Your proof points will be the same. The stories that you tell all ought to occupy exactly the same territory.
The crucial differences will be who’s telling those stories – your salespeople or journalists – and from what altitude – board-room deployment detail or thought leadership for mass readership? It’s especially important that your PR team is highly disciplined with what it puts out because they don’t control what journalists write. To support your people in the field effectively, your comms team needs to have its stories completely buttoned down and on message.
2. Keep sharing your latest work
Every new account win – and every new client proposition – is an opportunity to build greater brand authority through your corporate communications. Likewise, every announcement, though-leadership piece and business innovation creates additional proof points for your people working at the account level.
One of the goals of your PR activities should be building the profiles of your senior executives as thought leaders in your sector. You should aim to position your business as the de facto authority by showcasing your wealth of talent. Your account-based marketing efforts can then reference those same executives, to both reinforce the messaging and also exploit their influence.
Likewise, specific client wins and new deployments of your products and services can be highly newsworthy. Whether it’s how you’re helping a big brand achieve its goals, how you worked with a business to achieve something new, or both, there’s a lot of commercial value in knowing how to publicise it.
3. Use each activity to build platforms for the other
Break down those silos and share! Of crucial importance is ensuring that information flows freely between your sales, marketing and communications teams at all times. It can be the case that a seemingly mundane variation on the usual implementation of your products or services is actually highly newsworthy – and sometimes for bizarre and unpredictable reasons. Likewise, corporate communications ought to be championing the new products and services that will soon be finding their way to your account-based teams.
By drawing information from both parts of your business, you’ll create a ying and yang effect that builds up a more comprehensive picture. You’ll find you can talk about your transformative technical prowess in the media, while also being able to deliver practical content to potential clients about how you can help them through ABM.
4. Love is what you need…
People buy for emotional reasons. It’s a fact that’s often played down in the world of B2B marketing. We like to think we make rational decisions, ‘working’ in consultation with colleagues, based on specific ‘rational buying criteria.’ And, while that is true to some extent – and committee thinking can constrain individuals – how many times have you seen big decisions come down to the most senior decision-maker’s ‘favourite’?
That’s why it’s really important that you orchestrate your PR and ABM so that you can build your brand presence and get a greater share of voice. The more your brand is known, the more trust you will enjoy from your target audience. In turn, that will keep you top of mind, help ensure you get shortlisted, and might just mean you win the business.
5. Focus on promoting reality
Finally, be authentic. Being talked about through the media – by an impartial, third-party journalist, in their own words – has greater credibility than your sales team. It also has a far greater reach. Likewise, favourable comments made by your customers in case studies – people that have actually experienced your products and services for real – have arguably even greater authority.
When it comes to persuading the C-suite of the value of your products and services, such authenticity is crucially important. Feeding news coverage into your ABM campaigns and case studies into your PR activity creates a virtuous cycle of value and credibility.
Discover the three Rs that really matter in marketing
A core proposition at Hotwire is how we guide clients through the three Rs – Reputation, Relationships and Revenue. We take a holistic approach and can help you build out a PR and Marketing platform that is integrated, efficient, and most importantly highly effective.
Learn more about igniting the three Rs from our UK Chief Digital Office, Josh Turbill’s blog, here.